The Blue Cabin welcomes its first official artist-in-residence

Posted on Sep 20, 2019 in Events

On Monday, September 16th the Blue Cabin welcomed Australian Indigenous artist Vicki Couzens, the first Blue Cabin Floating Artist Resident. Jet lag and pouring rain didn’t stop Vicki from hopping on False Creek Ferries to get her first glimpse of the Blue Cabin as the last of the construction was being completed. 

Vicki Couzens looking out of the Blue Cabin. Photo by Tianna Barton

Recently awarded the 9th National Indigenous Arts Awards, Vicki describes her interdisciplinary practice as ‘creative cultural expression’ – painting, installation, visual arts, printmaking, mixed media, performing arts, language, ceremony and teaching – but is best known for her central role in the revival of the possum skin cloak making tradition which began in Victoria and is now established across south-eastern Australia.

A member of the Keerray Wooroong language group of the Gunditjmara of western Victoria, Vicki was born in 1960 in Warrnambool, living on Country until the family relocated to Geelong in 1973. She lived and worked in Geelong, Melbourne and East Gippsland before returning to Warrnambool in 1999.  In 2009 Vicki moved back to Melbourne for seven years and now lives in the Stony Rises, part of her home Country, in Victoria’s western districts.

Vicki Couzens. Australia Council for the Arts – National Indigenous Arts Awards 2016.

Vicki has worked in the Aboriginal community for more than 35 years in various roles, serving on the Boards of Banmirra Aboriginal Arts, Victorian Housing, Koorie Heritage Trust and the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages (VACL). She was Language Advisor and worked with the curatorial team on the First Peoples Exhibition at Melbourne Museum and has taught extensively across Victoria and south-eastern Australia.

She is considered a Senior Knowledge Holder of Language and Possum Cloak Story. To read more about Vicki click here.

Vicki Couzens and Chief Janice George meet. Photo by Tianna Barton

On Thursday evening the Blue Cabin hosted a beautiful welcome dinner for Vicki. The other future artists-in-residence were also in attendance; all five artists that make up the first roster of residency programming at the Blue Cabin. The artists met over a candle-lit long table dinner and enjoyed incredible west coast seafood chowder with savoury and sweet bannock made by Lisa Lewis. Introductions were made, histories were shared and a new community blossomed.

Welcome dinner for Vicki Couzens at the Blue Cabin. Photo by Tianna Barton

The yearlong inaugural program Skeins: Weaving on the Foreshore examines Coast Salish weaving practices and includes three research and residency periods by Angela George (Squamish/Tsleil-Waututh), Janice George and Buddy Joseph (Squamish), and Debra Sparrow (Musqueam). Australian Indigenous artist and activist Vicki Couzens (Gunditjmara) is the first international artist-in-residence, starting off the program. 



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